Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are on a mission to make capital more accessible to individuals, families, and small businesses. These innovative, inclusive lending programs are making an incredible impact in underserved urban and rural areas across the country, one loan at a time.
How CDFIs Help Small Businesses Prosper
With roots in the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, the U.S. Department of the Treasury officially established the Community Development Fund in 1994. Since then, it has awarded more than $2 billion to a nationwide network of CDFIs, which, in turn, create economic opportunities for members of their communities.
Community lending is more than banking. CDFIs typically incorporate business and financial literacy education into their programs. Consistent outreach and events help build, foster, and maintain strong relationships with clients, partners, donors, and the public.
With the right operational and communication tools behind the scenes, CDFIs can serve their clients and community efficiently. Loan management software is one of those foundational tools, and in this post we’ll share why Salesforce is an ideal platform for community lenders.
How to Choose a Loan Management Program for Your CDFI
There are many factors financial organizations of any kind must consider when selecting a lending management platform, including:
- Ease of use (for your staff and clients)
- Built-in loan management tools
- Customization options
- Reporting capability
- Accounting software integration
- Payment/ACH integration
- Client/borrower portals
- Customer service
- Technology updates/upgrades
- Compliance features
Community-based lenders, however, have different needs than commercial lending institutions, especially when it comes to terms and repayment. As you research your options, think big picture: What other products and services do you offer (or plan to offer)? How do you want to engage with your clients and the community at large?
Your loan management solution should integrate easily with other tools and programs necessary to your operations. Out-of-the-box lending tools are a big selling point, but you’ll also want a platform that’s flexible enough to meet the unique needs of CDFIs.
We built our end-to-end loan management product, IvyTek Finance, on the powerful, cloud-based Salesforce platform for many reasons, including its versatility and flexibility — and we find it works incredibly well for our nonprofit clients.
Benefits of Using Salesforce for CDFI Loan Management
Taking a closer look at why IvyTek Finance and Salesforce is an ideal loan management product for CDFIs, here’s how some of our features specifically benefit nonprofit lenders:
Innovative, End-to-End Loan Management Features
Innovative loan origination, underwriting, servicing, collection, and compliance features all in one place makes managing documents and workflows efficient for your entire team. This is especially beneficial for smaller or remote teams.
Borrower Interaction & Engagement Opportunities
Create branded, user-friendly application and borrower portals, which allow your clients to easily access and manage their accounts. Automated email and other communication tools help applicants stay aware of their status, borrowers stay on top of their payments, and keep everyone in your database aware of future opportunities.
Robust Reports & Data
Dig into the data you need, whenever you need it. In addition to 125+ built-in database reports, IvyTek Finance offers countless customizable reporting options. You can automate reports, as well as export them into your desired format. Our reporting feature, in fact, is mission critical because data brings your success stories to life! We’ll cover reporting more in the next section.
Donor Relations & Development Tools
At its heart, Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, and one of the most powerful in the world at that. If your lending solution is built on this platform, you can also take advantage of Salesforce Marketing Cloud for your development and stewardship efforts. (In fact, Salesforces offers a suite of services for philanthropic organizations.)
Harness the Power of Data: IvyTek Finance & Salesforce Reporting Features for CDFIs
Not only does robust reporting allow you to easily manage the financial health of your CDFI, but it also helps you measure your outcomes and promote and grow your organization.
Through a mix of anecdotal stories and data, you can show how your services connect to your mission and impact the community. For example, as you design, write, and prepare your online or print annual reports, you might consider sharing stats such as:
- Overall economic impact to your community
- Number of new companies started
- Number of jobs created
- Amount of families helped into a home
- Amount of students who were able to attend college
These are just a few examples, but a loan management partner like IvyTek can show you how to build reports based on your organization’s unique mission.
One of the most rewarding aspects of working in mission-driven lending is seeing the first-hand difference your educational and financial services make in your community. The CDFI loan management software you choose makes a difference, too.
IvyTek Finance, built on the powerful Salesforce Cloud, is a complete loan management solution — and a perfect platform for community lenders. Contact us for a demo today.